Star Citizen has been in production for quite some time now, and, well, some of its backers from Kickstarter have been becoming more and more impatient with the developers. Having started their Kickstarter campaign back in October 2012, this past October marked the fourth year that the game has been in production. However, there has been significant progress and fans have been able to see the game’s progress in events like PAX Australia and Gamescom. Pieces of the game are released every now and then, but the full game isn’t out yet, which has caused the developers to draw much criticism.
According to Polygon, the game’s director, Chris Roberts, announced a major change for the studio’s means of communicating release dates to their backers and to fans in general. The change mostly revolves around them sharing “target” dates, which could potentially change. Chris said
Whether or not to share this kind of information has been a long running debate among the team here at Cloud Imperium Games. Target dates are not release dates, and everything you see will shift at some point, sometimes slightly and sometimes wildly. The danger in doing this has always been that casual observers will not understand this, that there will be an outcry about delays every time we update the page.
However, for those backers that have stayed patient with them, Chris made sure to acknowledge their patience:
The community that has let us focus our passions on this incredible project. You have allowed us to take this journey, you have tracked and followed so much of how game development works… and now we think it is right to further part the curtain and share with you our production process.
Cloud Imperium will begin to share its internal development schedule on a weekly basis starting with their Alpha 2.6 version of Star Citizen. Chris notes that this schedule will be the very same schedule that they circulate on a daily basis within the studio. For obvious reasons, though individual names will be omitted from the schedule; and the JIRA details will be removed, and they will also have to modify some of the wording to make it readable for a wide audience. The schedule will be posted permanently on Roberts Space Industries website.
In the blog post (which you can read here), Chris also mentions that they’ve received a lot of “flak” over the years due to their game taking such a long time to be released. In addressing these people, Chris points out that the scope and scale of Star Citizen has forced them to devote a painstakingly long amount of time to perfect every last detail of the game, which of course, means that the launch date will keep getting pushed back further and further. He also is quick to remind everyone that even developers making large AAA titles have to move their schedules all the time, especially early in the development stage.
Open development does have its drawbacks. Not everyone understands the process or how difficult it can be. We have always tried to be open and share our progress. We refactored Around the Verse to focus more on developers showing and talking about their work to help give insight into the process. Our monthly reports have more information than any monthly report I had to do for Electronic Arts or Microsoft when at Origin or Digital Anvil.
If you’ve never heard of Star Citizen, it’s an upcoming space sim video game for PC. Its scope is said to be massive in size as developers of the game are planning to combine several video game elements, including first-person shooters in a massively multiplayer online game. Many, perhaps unfairly, are calling this game the game that No Man’s Sky should’ve been. But without having it out for gamers to play, it might be a bit premature to come to this conclusion. Here’s a 24 minute clip from this year’s CitizenCon: